By Chris Low, ESPN:
The debate on whether or not college football needs a restrictor plate has been shelved. For now, anyway. To most of the coaches who want to play fast and want to play without huddling and want to keep the defense from substituting, Alabama’s Nick Saban is the face of the movement to slow things down. Saban is on record as saying he doesn’t believe football was meant to be a continuous game. He’s also on record as saying he believes more plays and longer games are a detriment to player safety.
By Cliff Kirkpatrick, Montgomery Advertiser:
There were several coaching changes during the offseason for the Crimson Tide, but one was an easy transition. Kevin Steele moved from director of player personnel to linebackers coach. Defensive coordinator Kirby Smart moved from linebackers to the secondary. Steele is a veteran coach who was working the front office. He told Saban that he wanted to get back into coaching. So when secondary coach Greg Brown moved to Louisville, the dominoes fell in place for Steele.
By Michael Casagrande, al.com:
Every year, DePriest’s role increased a little more. As a true freshman, he was racing Vinnie Sunseri down the field on special teams. The hip injury to C.J. Mosley forced him into second-half action against LSU in the BCS title game, but he didn’t see more regular duty until his sophomore year. DePriest has been a big part of the Alabama defense since then and that role will only grow in Mosley’s absence.
By Ken Rogers, Dothan Eagle:
What, you thought this would be a quiet off season for Alabama’s football team? Not with Nick Saban’s public stance on the now-tabled “10-second rule,” making headlines. Not with a program-high five players leaving early for the NFL Draft, vacancies that someday will be filled by players among another top-rated recruiting class. Not with the staff shuffling, headlined by the hiring of offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin.
By AARON LAKE, oanow.com:
Dadeville standout defensive end Anfernee Jennings announced his commitment to Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide through Twitter on Thursday. The junior, who is considered a consensus three-star prospect, tweeted, “I have committed to the University of Alabama.. #RTR.” Jennings, at 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, recorded 171 tackles, seven sacks, one interception and 43 quarterback hurries during his junior year — an effort that landed him first-team All-State honors, as well as a first-team Opelika-Auburn News All-Area nod.
By: Miranda Mason, wtvy.com:
It’s early, of course. Very early. But Nick Saban’s early impressions on Alabama’s eight early enrollees should be enough to elicit some optimism as the Crimson Tide sits eight days away from the start of spring practice. Saban was simply briefing the media Wednesday about the progress made since Alabama ended its season with a stunning Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma when he brought up his youngest players unprompted. “I’ve been really impressed with the eight freshmen that we have here,” Saban said. “I think that it’s a huge advantage for them to be here. But they’ve all sort of done a nice job in the offseason program, are all guys that look like might be guys that can compete to help the team in some kind of way, which I think is a real positive for us.”
By Ray Slover, Sporting News:
Steve Spurrier continued to dig his spurs into rival Nick Saban on Thursday, making reference to Alabama’s football coach and a proposal to create a 10-second delay before teams can start a play on offense. To Spurrier’s mind, the now-tabled proposal remains the “Saban rule.” Spurrier coaches South Carolina; Saban coaches Alabama; both schools are in the SEC. Saban is trying to distance himself from the proposal, which the NCAA decided not to submit for vote at its current meetings. The idea is to stall hurry-up offenses to allow defenses a chance to recover. Its basis is in safety, believing the proliferation of high-tempo attacks puts exhausted defensive players in jeopardy of injury.
By Andrew Gribble, al.com:
Yeldon has been quiet and consistent as one of the SEC’s best running backs over the past two years. Now, with the departure of AJ McCarron, the spotlight shifts a few steps backward to an Alabama backfield where Yeldon will conceivably be the lead dog. Perhaps the best thing working for the junior is there’s no room for complacency. This isn’t his job by default, as Henry, Drake and others will push him every day in practice. After four costly fumbles in 2013 and a handful in 2012, he’ll need to improve his ball security.
From Roll Bama Roll:
The defensive line has been a strength for Alabama in recent years but football is changing and that means ‘Bama must adjust or be left behind. As we move closer to Spring practice one of the units that most ‘Bama fans will be (or at least should be) watching closely will be the defensive line. Two starters are gone from a group that excelled at times in 2013 (see LSU) and then fell apart when the team needed them the most. (Auburn) This unit has the potential to be the most explosive and dominating defensive lines Nick Saban has had at Alabama. I feel like a broken record at this point but just looking at the returning players, their size, physical make up and production from last season, this may just be the year it all comes to fruition.